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EPA’s McCarthy on “misunderstandings”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admits the process the agency has taken to clarify ‘Waters of the U.S.’ in the Clean Water Act has caused misunderstandings in the ag community.

McCarthy tells reporters the Interpretive Rule put forth by the agency was meant to include not only all “normal” farming practices – as before – but also practices supported by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and to expand the list of practices.  She says it was NOT meant to put the NRCS in a position of regulating, adding, “It’s been interpreted as a narrowing. So that’s one of the issues we really need to talk about. I don’t think anyone in the farming community or the agriculture community or ranchers will disagree with the intent – it’s the form it took and the misunderstanding that that has generated.”

McCarthy says the Supreme Court required that the EPA make a rule that provides scientific clarity to benefit both the EPA and the ag community, “Not that we don’t like to hang around together but I think they would prefer the clarity so they know what they’re doing without thinking that EPA is going to have to visit!  I love them dearly but we don’t want that kind of relationship.”

McCarthy visits a farm in Missouri on Wednesday and will hold a discussion with local farmers to dispel what she says are numerous myths about the proposed rule.

AUDIO: Media conference call with Gina McCarthy and Bill Heffernan (15:00 mp3)

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